Lesson Plan

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Lesson notes

Guitar Geography is a series of lessons designed to help the student get a clear understanding of the fretboard using intervals and the relationships between steps, notes, and scales.

Part 1 includes an overview of the series and a look at some of the preliminary information the student should be up on to get the most out of the lessons.The review touches on Natural Notes In First Position, Major Scales, and Intervals.

Part 2 - There are a few important concepts and techniques that need to be understood to get the most out of this series. The first is being familiar with the Natural Notes In First Position. Part 2 of Guitar Geography reviews and reinforces this knowledge.

Part 3 - Continuing with important preliminary information, this segment is a short review of Major Scales. Understanding intervals and how they apply to the guitar requires being able to think about notes in a key by number in the scale, rather than just the note name.

Part 4 - An interval is just a label for the distance between two notes. This segment goes over the basic distances and terms used when identifying them. A clear understanding of the terminology is essential for the rest of this series to make sense.

Part 5 - One of the first basic skills musicians must understand is the Musical Alphabet, all seven letters forward and back. Not too much further down the line is the ability to quickly go through it in thirds, fourths, and fifths, essentially going up stairs two, three, or four at a time. The segment presents a logical way of mastering these skills.

Part 6 - In this segment we combine some of the earlier ones into a way of understanding and knowing the natural notes all the way up the sixth and fifth strings. The Five Fret rule for finding the same note on an adjacent string and the relationship of the strings being tuned a fourth apart are the key elements.

Part 7 - Fourths, Fifths and Octaves are classified as perfect, rather than major or minor. This segment focuses on recognizing them on the fretboard and how they are tied into Natural Notes on the fifth and sixth strings, as well as the orders of sharps (fifths) and flats (fourths) as used in key signatures. Fourths and Fifths are also known as Complementary Intervals. Meaning they add up to an octave together.

Part 8 - Once you are comfortable with fourths, you only need to expand a little and fill in the blanks between them to easily find seconds and thirds. This segment brings in the Five-Fret Rule as well, reviewing playing the same note on a neighboring string.

Part 9 - The bigger intervals are very similar to the smaller ones but we connect them to fifths and octaves in this segment.

Part 10 - In this segment we look at common patterns among the three primary chords in a key, I, IV and V. We have to remember that going up a string (sixth to fifth) at the same fret takes us up a fourth, or to the root of chord IV. Then the root of V is 1 step higher on the same string. We also look at patterns starting on the fifth string going up to the fourth string and down to the sixth string.

Part 11 - A common question among guitar players is, “Why is the second string tuned differently from the rest?” In this segment we touch on that, as well as the difference it makes when mapping out fourths, fifths, and octaves. We also explore octaves that are 4 strings apart and include the second string.

Part 12 - In our quest to become familiar with the fretboard it is important to reduce the number of notes that we expect to identify instantly. The path to this is having a smaller number of reference poits, notes that we quickly recognize that will lead us to others. This segment prioritizes these and brings them down to a manageable number. We also review the important relationships between strings and intervals.

Part 13 - The main goal of the Guitar Geography Series is to help the student quickly and comfortably answer two questions: What note is that and where can I find a certain note. Our final segment focuses in using the strategies and relationships that we have gone over throughout the series. You should be good to go with a much clearer understanding of the fretboard now!